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The beer can above (*) is an original of the Olde Christian Heurich Brewing Co., the last production brewery to call D.C. home. The brewery closed in 1956 after 83 years in business, the victim of the major beer companies that were harnessing the power of TV to build their empires.
But as Lagerhead Tammy Tuck reports in the Washington City Paper‘s Beer Issue, four new production breweries are set to open next year, ending the 50-plus year drought in home-grown beer. (In all fairness, we should note that TBD unearthed a fifth one today.) As Tuck writes, the metro area will soon be awash in local beer:
Besides the four coming to D.C., two more production breweries will open in Northern Virginia next year: Beer from Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria and 28 North Custom Beer Works in Ashburn will eventually make its way into the District. Another, Baying Hound Aleworks, is already operating in Rockville. Altogether, these seven new outfits will nearly double the area’s number of local craft breweries, which currently include Heavy Seas Beer, Oliver Breweries, and Stillwater Artisanal Ales in Baltimore, Flying Dog in Frederick, and Hook and Ladder in Silver Spring. When you add in brewpubs like District Chop House, Franklin’s in Hyattsville, and Mad Fox in Falls Church, the metro area will have 20 local beer options.
But D.C. has seen a rise in cask ale, too, as Orr Shtuhl reports in his story on the old-time method of brewing and serving beer that’s making a modern resurgence. Writes Shtuhl:
In the past year, the number of cask lines in and around D.C. jumped from 10 to 21, with ChurchKey in Logan Circle, Mad Fox Brewing Co. in Falls Church, Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar in Arlington, and Pizzeria Paradiso’s Dupont Circle location all joining the club.
What’s else can you find in our Beer Issue? Only these fine reads:
- Jonathan Fischer tailing PBR’s guerrilla marketer
- Lydia DePillis on how Rustik Tavern managed to sell beer in Bloomingdale where the Big Bear Cafe had failed.
- And finally, my take on the Brickskeller and what its future may look like.
* The photo of an old iron can of Heurich lager comes from Washington City Paper‘s Michael E. Grass. Grass’ great-great grandfather, August Grass, was a master woodcarver and furnituremaker, whose work can best be seen in the Heurich Mansion/Brewmaster’s Castle just off Dupont Circle. A century ago, the Grass and the Heurichs families were prominent members of the District’s tight-knit German community, which lived in what is today the West End and Foggy Bottom. Mike, whose family has been in the District since the 1860s, tells me that his late great aunt gave him the full beer can a few years ago, a momento from the last batches of beer the Olde Christian Heurich Brewing Co. made in the mid-1950s before the brewing operation was shuttered. (Grass’ grandfather grew up in a rowhome that was transformed into the structure that now houses Kinkead’s restaurant at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.)